Last updated: 04:00 PM ET, Tue August 30 2016

Ongoing Overhaul Presenting Problems for Passengers at LaGuardia Airport

Airlines & Airports | Patrick Clarke | August 30, 2016

Ongoing Overhaul Presenting Problems for Passengers at LaGuardia Airport

Photo courtesy of Thinkstock.  

Air travelers passing through New York's LaGuardia Airport would be wise to leave themselves some extra travel time.

The airport, which serves as many as 28 million passengers per year, is coming off of a nightmarish traffic backup last week that has many questioning the planning behind the $4 billion overhaul currently underway, the Associated Press reported.

Traffic tie-ups on Aug. 22 brought about headaches for countless air travelers at the airport, many of whom were forced to abandon their cabs or cars and walk themselves and their luggage to the terminals.

Global Gateway Alliance chairman Joe Sitt, whose organization advocates for improving air travel in the region, has been critical of the renovation efforts thus far.

"They're just not doing a very good job right now, the traffic situation is spiraling out of control," Sitt told the AP. "They need to do a better job of promoting the alternatives that they're already talking about," he added, referring to the Port Authority's goals of promoting bus service and encouraging passengers to use a remote drop-off lot.

The Transportation Security Administration's (TSA) recommendation that travelers arrive at least two hours ahead of their scheduled departures doesn't sit well with him either. 

READ MORE: Delta, Port Authority to Partner on LaGuardia Airport Terminal Redevelopment

"A lot of the flights at LaGuardia are an hour, hour and a half," Sitt told the AP. "You're doubling the amount of travel time. You're supposed to make it easier for folks to travel in the modern era, not make it more difficult."

The massive renovation project, which is scheduled to be completed by 2022, includes a new 1.3 million-square-foot central terminal with nearly three dozen gates and a new parking garage, among other improvements.

"Our objective is to preserve and improve the passenger experience throughout construction," said Stewart Steeves, the CEO of the consortium LaGuardia Gateway Partners that's building the new terminal at the airport.

Steeves conceded that there have been "teething challenges" as workers realign roads. 

Therefore, while the construction continues, travelers will want to heed the TSA's advisory. 

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